Giorgi Mamulaishvili: Misinterpretation of Data in the Context of Gambling

The head of the Georgian Gambling Association (GGA), Giorgi Mamulaishvili, stated that the fundamental issue with gaming industry misinformation is its faulty interpretation.

Mamulaishvili specifically cites data from Georgia’s National Statistics Office (Geostat), which showed the turnover of gaming enterprises in 2021 at 57 billion GEL ($22 billion). In fact, the enterprises received 5 billion GEL ($1.9 billion) in cash, with a net gain of 800 million GEL ($304.4 million). 

“It is worth noting that the turnover mentioned by Geostat is simply the number of bets placed, not the revenue of gambling companies. GGR – the difference between bets placed and winnings paid – should be used to compute revenue. Thus, gaming organizations’ revenue is significantly lower than reported,” he explained.

Mamulaishvili also stated that while an increase in turnover is predicted this year, business revenue will most likely be lower than the previous year due to the rise of illegal operators in the Georgian market.

The Georgian Gambling Association is not the first to confront the issue of illegal businesses. Since new regulations went into force last year, Georgia’s illegal market has increased dramatically. According to Mamulaishvili, if there were just four illegal operators in the country before 2022, approximately 700 illegal businesses are attempting to operate right now.

Despite this, the GGA’s head feels that Georgia remains an attractive destination for foreign investors. “Georgia is now a hub and an entrance for foreign firms to Asian countries. Furthermore, Georgia is one of the most developed post-Soviet countries in this regard.”

In his view, Ukraine stands as the primary regional competitor to Georgia, yet its ability to realize its full potential remains hindered by the Russo-Ukrainian war.

“Therefore, even with recent regulatory changes, Georgia has a strong possibility of establishing itself as a hub, primarily due to its tax policies. Another crucial element contributing to this potential is the country’s stability in regulatory frameworks, which differs from regions like Kazakhstan where investors are wary due to legislation changes every year,” Mamulaishvili pointed out.

You can read more about the development and trends of the Kazakhstan gambling market from Giorgi Mamulaishvili here.

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